A whale shark that was found washed ashore on Pekutatan Beach in Yeh Kuning, Jembrana earlier this week reportedly survived after several locals and foreigners successfully pushed the endangered species back into the ocean.
Local reports say that the whale shark (Rhincodon typus) was found at the beach on Monday at around 6:30am.
Gede Wirawan, a local man who runs a food stall nearby, was quoted by Nusa Bali as saying that the large fish, estimated at about 7 meters in length, was thought to be dead when it was first discovered.
Upon closer inspection, however, the animal showed signs of life as it struggled to return to the sea.
“After I saw [that the whale shark was still alive], I immediately alerted other people. Soon many people gathered around and together we tried to push it back,” he said.
At least ten foreigners who were in the area reportedly also helped the locals. The rescue effort was a success and the whale shark was last seen swimming into the horizon.
Pekutatan Police Chief I Wayan Suastika confirmed the event, including the successful rescue.
It was not the first time the species was found washed ashore at the beach this year. Local reports say that the largest fish species was also found stranded on Sept. 29, Oct. 15, and Nov. 2. Unfortunately, the three animals died before they could be rescued.